By Sara Brown
Superintendent of Public Schools Dr. Paul Dakin pointed to Mayor Dan Rizzo across city hall Monday in celebration. The city council voted 10–1 in favor of the bond for the new school. They also unanimously voted for a new stadium, land takings, and three new ball fields at St. Mary’s.
The only councillor to vote against the bond for the new school was Ira Novoselsky.
Tensions were high from the beginning. Signs were posted around the council chambers—“maximum occupancy not to exceed 136 persons”—which caused some controversy.
The council chambers quickly filled with concerned residents and many were standing. There was a room next door to the council chambers equipped with televisions so residents could watch the meeting. People standing were instructed to go into the adjoining room.
“That has never happened before. They had never done that before,” Dakin shouted. “They have always had people standing. Those signs weren’t here last week.”
Some residents were told they couldn’t hold up signs they brought that said, “I live in Revere. I demand equality “and” education first.”
The disputes resulted in Ward 1 Councillor Richard Penta and Ward 7 Councillor Charles Patch arguing with Council President and Ward 2 Councillor Novoselsky.
“The people have the right to hold a sign,” Patch said.
“You are out of order, president,” Penta said. “Can we have the vice president hold the meeting? We don’t need you!”
However, tempers calmed and the meeting began.
Rizzo urged the council that if they were in favor of the new school to also vote in favor of bonding the land takings and the St. Mary’s field.
“For anyone who has been in McKinley for five minutes, they can see why we need a new school,” Rizzo said. “The other two loans are critical. This goes nowhere without them.”
Many have been worried what this project will do to taxes.
“Your taxes go up every year, so you might as well get something for it,” Dakin said.
Members of the McKinley community spoke about the need for a new school.
“I am proud to send my son there,” Assistant Principal Nancy Martel said. “He deserves a new school. All of the children of McKinley deserve a new school.”
“In my room, because of the vibration from the heaters, I need to project my voice. There is only so much we can do,” teacher Elaine Moschella said. “You say the stadium is deplorable? People only go there for a brief time. We are in this school for seven hours five days a week. We all take pride in this school. You have no idea what we have to deal with.”
The council agreed that McKinley has been long overdue for a new school.
“This is the future of Revere. These are future taxpayers,” Councillor-at-Large Jessica Giannino said. “It’s not a building, it’s a future. It’s not one future, it’s hundreds.”
Councillor-at Large Anthony Zambuto said with an 80 percent reimbursement from the state it would be “fiscally irresponsible not to build the school now.”
However, some were not sure if they could vote for the school that night. Novoselsky said, “We don’t have all the information. I don’t think the planning is 100 percent. I don’t want to vote against the school. I won’t vote for the school tonight. I am really sorry.”
The council also voted in favor of a new Harry Della Russo Stadium, 11–0. The current stadium is 80 years old and not up to date with current stadiums in surrounding communities.
“The children deserve a facility that is safe, healthy and proud to be part of,” Revere Pop Warner President Paul Belschner said.
“It’s time to start competing with other communities,” Director of Parks and Recreation Michael Hinojosa said.
The bond for the new stadium itself is $5,500.00. Penta did the math and realized the project is very affordable. “If you do the math, it’s $10.25 a year. That’s less than a dollar a month,” Penta said. “To say we can’t afford it is totally ludicrous.”
The only bond the council didn’t approve Monday night was to remodel the current McKinley. The plan is to turn it into office space for the school committee, which is currently in the high school. Dakin said they will have to leave the high school so the students can have more classroom space.
Dakin also said the school department will be taking over the costs for the current McKinley. “We are going to pay rent somewhere,” Dakin said. “This has no cost [to] the taxpayers. I don’t want to pay rent to a landlord. I want to pay rent to the city.”
However, not everyone agreed. “Why are we in such a rush to judgment to build offices,” Ward 5 Councillor John Powers asked.
The bond moved to subcommittee and will be voted on at a later time.